Continuing with my Chicago Bulls player grades for the 2017-2018 season, next up: David Nwaba and Kris Dunn.
David Nwaba: C
I know a lot of you are going to be mad at me for this one. I’m sure you’re wondering why I only gave the hard-working, fan-favorite, David Nwaba a C grade. That’s a fair question.
Let me explain my thoughts.
Yes, I know Nwaba was a great underdog story this year. I know he established himself as a player the Bulls will likely keep around. He was their second-best defender all season long (I’m still picking Dunn as the DPOY for the Bulls) and he gave the bench unit an incredible boost of energy.
I don’t want this to come across as me hating on David Nwaba. I actually really like him a lot and think he had an incredible season. But an incredible season or not, he still has a lot to work on before he can contribute more to a winning team.
Nwaba averaged 8 points and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes of play per game this season. Those aren’t bad numbers but his shooting has to improve if he wants to be a valuable rotation piece for the Bulls going forward.
The Bulls already made it clear that they plan to add wing depth in the draft, so that leaves fewer minutes for Nwaba. I still think Nwaba’s defense and energy will be enough to get him in the game but his offense needs to take the next step. He reminds me a lot of young Jimmy Butler – gritty and tough but offensively challenged. I’m cheering for Nwaba, I like him a lot and I hope he continues to improve. But with that being said, I can’t give everyone a good grade or what’s the point?
Also, a C isn’t bad. Especially considering what most people expected out of this guy.
You know, the more I think about it, a C grade is pretty good. Keep grinding, Nwaba.
Kris Dunn: A-
Dunn had a heck of a second year.
After getting almost no playing time his rookie year in Minnesota and struggling mightily on offense, he found his rhythm in Chicago.
Dunn improved drastically on the offensive end this season. He averaged 13 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. He showed that he has the scoring potential Bulls fans craved. But even more impressive than that was the way he set up his teammates without turning the ball over too much. Sure, the turnovers could come down a little, but he’s still only played two years as a pro. You could even make a case that this was his actual rookie year considering it was the first year he got a real opportunity.
Dunn’s playmaking and defense are going to be the keys to the Bulls success going forward. As the Bulls look to add more perimeter scoring in the draft, they’ll continue to rely on Dunn to make the right plays, get the ball to the shooters, and be an animal on the defensive end – something he’s already doing.
Dunn averaged 2 steals per game this season. He was also hands-down one of the best perimeter on-ball defenders in the league.
When Dunn came over in the trade last summer, I think this type of season is something Bulls fans dreamt about but probably thought was unlikely. His huge steps forward were unexpected but awesome to see. He’s proven that he’s the point guard of the future and the Bulls can find solace in that.